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Rev. Dr. Henry Lee Bates - Archived Messages

 
RevBates.tv Global - Weekly Message To The Masses for June 21, 2009 

                      Luke 15:11And he said, A certain man had two sons:   12And the younger of them said to his father, Father, give me the portion of goods that falleth to me. And he divided unto them his living.   13And not many days after the younger son gathered all together, and took his journey into a far country, and there wasted his substance with riotous living.   14And when he had spent all, there arose a mighty famine in that land; and he began to be in want.   15And he went and joined himself to a citizen of that country; and he sent him into his fields to feed swine.   16And he would fain have filled his belly with the husks that the swine did eat: and no man gave unto him.   17And when he came to himself, he said, How many hired servants of my father's have bread enough and to spare, and I perish with hunger!   18I will arise and go to my father, and will say unto him, Father, I have sinned against heaven, and before thee,  19And am no more worthy to be called thy son: make me as one of thy hired servants.   20And he arose, and came to his father. But when he was yet a great way off, his father saw him, and had compassion, and ran, and fell on his neck, and kissed him.   21And the son said unto him, Father, I have sinned against heaven, and in thy sight, and am no more worthy to be called thy son.   22But the father said to his servants, Bring forth the best robe, and put it on him; and put a ring on his hand, and shoes on his feet:   23And bring hither the fatted calf, and kill it; and let us eat, and be merry:   24For this my son was dead, and is alive again; he was lost, and is found. And they began to be merry. - The Holy Bible, King James Version

      Today, in the United States, Canada and Mexico we celebrate "Father's Day" and many more countries are celebrating today as well.  Most countries celebrate "Father's Day" in June, but some celebrate in different months of the year.  The message of "Father's Day" is one of respect and recognition for the role that fathers play in our lives.  Fathers make a significant impact on the lives of their children, either positively or negatively, and therefore on the world.

     In a Jet Magazine article, Ron Kirk, the U.S. trade representative, told Jet that Obama has had "a profound and inspirational effect on African American men. He has challenged our community to live up to our responsibility to take care of our children and play an active role in their lives. He has challenged us . . . to provide for our families and, most importantly, to be the best fathers we can be."  I personally believe that President Obama is having an inspirational effect on all fathers, of all races.  And, I believe this inspirational effect goes beyond the borders of the United States.  It is wonderful to see the images of this President with his children and it would be wonderful if all fathers were paying attention, but for some the message is lost on them.  And for some, they just don't fully understand their role as a father because their experience was with an absent father, due to death, abandonment or separation by imprisonment.

     The passages from the Book of Luke above give us the parable of the "prodigal son."  This parable is two-fold; it is teaching the relationship we have to G-d in our lives, and it is a model for fathers.  It is teaching us that no matter what may separate us, there is a bond between father and child that transcends our mistakes and our disagreements.  It is also teaching us that for this father and child relationship to be a strong bond, the father must be spiritual; forgiving and understanding.  In this parable the father has great affection for his son, even though the son had left him and rejected the life he had provided for him.  And though most of us have not rejected our fathers, how many of us can say we have not been distracted from our relationship with G-d? ... and this lack of attentiveness or lack of worship, is a form of rejection.  Yet, as with the prodigal son, the moment we consciously recognize G-d ... G-d responds to us in the affirmative.

       Matthew 6:31-33 "Therefore take no thought, saying, What shall we eat? or, What shall we drink? or, Wherewithal shall we be clothed?  (For after all these things to the Gentiles seek:)  for your heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of all these things.  But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you." - The Holy Bible, King James Version

     As we can note from the ancient scripture taken from Matthew, the role of father is to imitate G-d; to provide, to meet our needs.  Most of us can remember as children, that we did indeed see our fathers in this way.  We loved and trusted our fathers to provide for us and to love us ... even when we made mistakes.  I believe that an enlightened father will teach their child that G-d provides and loves us without judgment.  And the best way a father can teach this, is by demonstrating it through his own actions.  When we teach that G-d provides based on the concepts of reward and punishment, we create doubt and separation, and this doubt and separation, for a child, can be transferred to their relationship with their father.  In Truth, nothing we do can ever separate us from G-d ... and this should be true of our fathers as well.

     When we look at the statements from Matthew 6:31-33 above, we can note that Jesus referred disparagingly to Gentiles.  After all, this was the ancient idea of G-d.  Jesus' god in these passages from Matthew was the god of the Jews, not the god of the Gentiles.  Jesus' spiritual evolution had not transcended the culture at this point.  In what is referred to as the "Lord's Prayer" which can be found in previous chapters of Matthew, the Master Mind Jesus uses the term, "Our Father."  But, even He had not embodied this revelation of Truth at this point to see it as inclusive of Gentiles.  It is humorous, and telling, that in the "New International Version of the Bible" and other versions, this reference to "Gentiles" is replaced with the word "pagans" or "unbelievers" ... perhaps in an attempt to play down the fact that Jesus was a Jew with a humanly cultural bias.  But, that wasn't what is important in these words.  What is important is to recognize that Jesus did transcend the culture, and gained the awareness of the "One Father" of all.

    As we understand that there is One Father, One Spirit, working through the consciousness of each person, we know that each person who has taken on the role of father, has the potential to effect a positive influence on his children and his children's children by looking to G-d, Infinite Spirit, for guidance.  As each father looks to G-d for wisdom and understanding, each becomes capable of teaching their children to do the same.  And every father has the capacity for love, affection, understanding and forgiveness that was evidenced in the parable of the prodigal son, "for your heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of all these things."

AND SO IT IS!

Keep the faith!
Rev. Dr. Henry Lee Bates

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"I have been all things unholy.  If God can work through me, He can work
through anyone." 
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St. Francis of Assisi